10 Simple Ideas That You Can Do To Reduce Waste Around Your House

“If you want to get serious about sustainability we have
to start with our waste.”

 

Waste is a serious problem that impacts all of us. Here’s 2 charts that shows how much the US wasted in the past years.  Could you imagine how much that has increased over the last few years.  How sad is this, when so many people in our world is starving to death?!?!

@http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/06/26-trillion-pounds-of-garbage-where-does-the-worlds-trash-go/258234/

@http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-glickman/the-true-cost-of-food-was_b_6769352.html

Here’s 2 charts showing how much the world wastes

@http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-glickman/the-true-cost-of-food-was_b_6769352.html

The best place to start, is within our own home.  There is so many different things we can do, to reduce our own waste from recycling & repurposing items & materials, buying less things which means less clutter, & learning new ways to use up everything we have.  You can be as creative as you want, but if you need ideas there is so much out there.  It also doesn’t have to be some elaborate plan, oftentimes simple is better.  Aren’t sure where to begin, here’s
10 simple ideas that you can do to reduce waste around your house:
1. Use a gallon milk jug to water the roots of garden plants without standing there with a hose: Poke small holes in the bottom of the jug and bury it; fill with water for slow and steady irrigation.

2. Place old silica gel packets with personal papers and important documents to protect them from moisture and mildew.

3. Make a bird feeder out of a 2-liter plastic bottle.

4. Pour used bacon grease into a tuna or cat food can, chill until firm, and wire the can to a tree to give your feathered visitors some food. Bacon grease may be gross to some of us, but it attracts bluebirds, crows, jays, ravens, starlings, woodpeckers and Carolina wrens.

5. Missing game pieces instead of throwing away, use game board as a wall decor or coasters, & use the game pieces for jewelry, magnets, decor items

6. Compost everything that you don’t use ****put in a compost chart****

7. Coffee grounds- use in homemade soaps, exfoliate, use in garden to keep ants & slugs at bay, dried grounds used as a scouring agent, in fridge neutralizes odors,

8. Newspaper- lay down while painting, lie our snack cages with, wash windows with, use a layer in garden to help keep weeds at bay, compost,

9. Tea bags- for eyes, insect bites,

10. toilet paper tubes- for crafting, packaging & packing material, nesting materials etc

Additional readings:
Top 10 Ways To Reduce Waste
Waste Less Live More
The True Cost of Food Waste
2.6 Trillion Pounds of Garbage: Where Does The World’s Trash Go?
What are some ways you reduce wastes in 
your home? 


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Create With Joy, The Jenny Evolution,

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Moro de Habichuela (Dominican Rice n Beans)

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When I was younger, I stayed in an all Spanish community, where I was the only non-Spanish person around.  The lessons I learned from this experience was life changing.  The pieces of their culture that I fell in love with I took and incorporated it into my family’s daily life like their music, dancing, & food.  Plus it helps my two older ones (who are half Dominican) to connect with a part of their heritage.
True Dominican food is absolutely amazing.  If you haven’t tried it, you are really missing out.  The food is not only delicious but very frugal to make.  The 1st dish I’m sharing with you is a staple food that you can make many different ways depending on which beans you use.  It’s a simple delicious filling meal that feeds a crowd.

Moro de Habichuela 
adapted & taken from: Aunt Clara’s recipe
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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups white rice
  • 1 can 15.5 oz kidney beans (or any cooked beans of your choice)
  • 6 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1/4c chopped peppers ( i used sweet mini ones)
  • 1 pinch of Oregano
  • 1-2 tsp garlic minced
  • 3 fresh thyme leaves
  • 1-2 tsp chopped Cilantro
  • salt

Directions:

  1. Heat half the oil (2.5 Tbsp) in an iron pot over low heat and add cilantro, garlic, thyme, celery, olives, oregano, cubanela, capers. Cook and stir for a minute, or until the ingredients release their aroma. Stir in the tomato paste.
  2. Add beans, also while stirring, add season with salt. Once heated through, add water and bring to the boil (try the mixture and add salt to taste before proceeding, bear in mind that the rice will absorb some of the salt, so don’t low-ball it).
  3. Stir in the rice and simmer stirring frequently to avoid excessive sticking. Make sure to remove the rice that sticks to the bottom.
  4. When the water has evaporated cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Wait 15 minutes, uncover, add the remaining oil and stir.
  5. Cover again another 5 minutes. After this the rice should be firm but tender inside. If necessary, cover and leave another 5 minutes over very low heat (if at this point it looks too dry add ¼ cup of boiling water before stirring and covering.

~Enjoy~

Are you a fan of Dominican food?  What’s your favorite dish?


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Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth,

 

13 Ways To Embrace Winter By Keeping It Simple

I’ve never really been a winter person even if I’ve lived in New England a good portion of my life.  Each year, I never look forwards to winter, the cold weather, & all that it brings.  But this year, I was determined to make the most out of winter, embracing everything it has to offer instead of being depressed, stuck indoors, waiting for the spring to arrive.  I know I’m not alone, there are others who don’t enjoy winter.  So here’s some of the things that have made this winter actually quite enjoyable.  It may not be my most favorite season, but it definitely not a time to dread anymore.  Here’s a few ways I’ve embraced winter.
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1. Get the right gear
“There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” ~Swedish Saying
Having the right gear is EVERYTHING.  How can you enjoy the colder months is your freezing?  You don’t need to spend a fortune, just make sure you have good gloves, hat, neck wrap, & warm boots.  Oh and wearing two pairs of pants on really cold days helps a lot.

2. Change your mindset  

Attitude is everything.  Start finding little ways you enjoy about winter and go from there.

3. Admire the beauty of the season
Have you been out looking around, it’s quite beautiful out.  The snow & ice offers such fantastic props for images.  Next time your out, start really looking around, seeing all the beauty that’s around you.

4. Make your home cozy & enjoy the comforts
Fires, candles, essential oil diffusers etc. helps make you house cozy.  Who wouldn’t want to be home if it’s nice & cozy.  Enjoy the comforts of food, warm drinks, reading, snuggling etc.

5. Have a winter bonfire
Who doesn’t love a good bonfire?  Bonfires aren’t just for spring & summer, winter ones can be just as fun.

7. Snuggle up with a good book
Got some reading to catch up on, now is the perfect time.  Make yourself a nice warm drink, snuggle with your favorite blanket and get your reading on.

8. Have a game night
We love game nights at our house.  Wintertime is a great time to have these more often, as we are always looking of ways to have fun with all 5 kiddos, but it’s hard since the ages they are 16-6.  Games is a perfect way for us all to have family time.

9. Exercise @ least 1x per day
No, you don’t need to go crazy or anything, just get out and walk.  I love walking now, so that’s what I will do till spring, then I’m hoping to fix my bike and start biking again.  My stomach can’t handle running, so I don’t ever think I would do that.  Just do whatever you can at least 1x per day.

10. Get outdoors as often as you can……..staying indoors is depressing
Getting out in the fresh air will do you wonders.  Stop barricading yourself in, get out, & embrace the cold.

11. Activities & hobbies ie. snowshoeing, sledding, crafts etc.
Finding something to get up moving, is always great.  Why not make it something fun.  Take up new activities or do something you already love.  It’ll make winter so much more enjoyable.

12. Eat as healthy as possible
The way we eat will affect the way we feel.  Fill your body with foods that it will thank you later for.

13. Host an outdoor party or pot luck
Parties of any kind are fun.  Why not host one at your house?  It can be as simple as you want, just gather a few people together to enjoy each other’s company.

Are you a fan of winter?


Sharing with:
Katherine’s Corner, Create With Joy,  A Life In Balance

9 Successful Unique Ways To Save & Make Money

Now that the holidays are over, and it’s a new year, it’s time to get back to reality and figure out ways to make some extra cash and/or ideas on how to save money.  Whether the holidays left you broke or not, we all could use some help when it comes to money.  I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use a great tip that actually works.  Key being the word “actually“.

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@Flicker.com

With the new year upon us, one of my areas of concentration is exploring new ways to successful bring in extra money through unique avenues as well as making our money stretch till it can’t stretch no more.  Sure, I’m pretty good now, but with a little more practice I’ll be even better.  Being frugal & thrifty is an ongoing journey, one that I continually learn new things from, some successful and some that aren’t.
Today I’m sharing 9 Successful Unique Ways To Make & Save Money.  Now you won’t turn rich overnight, but you’ll be able to make some extra money for those pesky surprises that always pop up.

  • Schoola referrals-
    through this site every time you get a successful referral you get credited $20.  The best part is the person you reffereed to their site gets a free $20 too.  Free clothing for both with free shipping.  It’s a win win for us both.  To use my referral link to get yourself a free $20 to shop with use this link: https://www.schoola.com/stitch?ref=cp-3X11fiY6F  Not only are you getting clothing for free, you are giving free clothing to others, & supporting the schools who donated their clothing.  Check it out today!!
  • Open a supply store through Esty
    Did you know you can sell empty toliet roll & paper towel rolls on Esty?  Crafters need supplies so why not open your own store selling items you would normally throw away.  Have your friends and family help you out by saving certain items, adding them to your store.  Sure, you won’t become rich but you’ll make some extra money instead of throwing it away.
  • Resell free things
    One person’s junk is another man’s treasure.  See something for free you could sell?  Don’t pass up something free, if you know you could possibly sell it.  Check out the free section of Craigslist, free pile in yard sales, or free things on the side of the road.  If something needs a little work but you see the potential, refurbish it and then sell it.  You’ll be amazed at what will actual sell.
  • Sign up for free samples throughout the year especially from Pinchme & All You  
    Pinchme & All You have the best free samples around.  Some of the time, they give away full size products.  I save the free samples all year long and then at holidays or birthdays I make a nice basket with them for my daughter, mother, sister etc.  You would be amazed at some of the awesome things I have gotten a sample of….from housewares, to beauty, to home care to pet care.  There is a wide range of sample products waiting for someone to take.  Sign up today.
  • Buy gift cards when there’s a bonus gift card deal
    A few times a year Shaw’s offers an extra $10-$25 (depending on the time of the year) if you buy $100 worth of gift cards.  Well, since i have to go shopping anyways there, I buy my week’s of grocery worth in gift cards and then save the bonus cards for Christmas or birthdays.  If you do this a few times a year, you can make some good side cash.  I’ve made an extra $100 some years, which of course is completely free money.  A lot of stores do this, be on the lookout.  But be careful, only do this with stores you would normally buy from otherwise, you will be wasting your money.
  • Join a gleaning/food recovery group.  
    There are groups all around the world where people harvest unwanted or unneeded plants for their own personal use or to give to others.  Here’s a link for the UK to get some of you started………Gleaning Network.  I haven’t found one for the US yet.
  • Sell broken electronics on Ebay
    A few years back, I wanted to see what would actually sell on ebay.  To my surprise, broken electronics sold for pretty good money.  So when my computer fell apart, we sold the components and made more money than it was worth.  Right now, I have a broken tablet & camera i’m looking to sell.  These I know won’t go for much but anything is better than letting it sit on a shelf collecting dust or throwing it away.  Because you are throwing away money.  So, next time your at a yard sale, look for broken electronics that are usually free and sell them for a little extra cash.
  • Join MyRecipe.com 
    At my recipe you are able to submit your recipes to share with it’s viewers.  If you recipe becomes popular, then they will pay for the views.  For you foodies out there, it’s def worth the look.  With limited time invested, once you upload your recipe & images, then the work is done.  You just wait to see if it’ll make you some money.  Here’s a fantastic article about this breaking down how much you can make as well as how to start sharing your recipes.  Get Paid To Share Your Recipes At My Recipe Magic.
  • Become a Darbysmart.com designer
    Here’s some information about it on their blog.  You can submit your designs and if they accept it, they’ll pay you for it.  Also, the site offers you to set up a store, selling items directly on it.  Def worth checking out especially for those DIYers out there.

What some other unique ways that you save or make money?


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Create With Joy, Oh My Heartsie Girl, My Turn For Us

8 Frugal Ways I Saved Money This Week

I’m always on the lookout for ways to save or stretch our money as much as possible.  I’m very good at it, but there is always room to grow.   Part of my growing, is sharing with others how I do this, especially doing it with a large family.  I decided that each week I will share the frugalness through successful shopping trips, tips, ideas etc.  I hope others out there, share their frugalness with me as well.  So we can learn from one another as well as learning successful ways to be frugal.
During the holidays, it’s easy to be frugal, if you can squash the wants & so called needs.  There are so many things I would love to buy, some even I think I need to buy but reality is, is that I don’t.  To help me keep my perspective, I usually do something special with the family through free or cheap activities, crafts, diy, or outings.  This week’s biggest money savings came from a raffle basket I won.  See below how I saved money this week.
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1. Got 5.5lbs of spicy sausage for $5.00 total @ Shaw’s.
2. My husband donated one of the games & a movie I won to Toys for Tots.
3. Used 2 movies from the raffle basket I won for a birthday present my girls will give their classmate.
4. Returned 2 games I won that we couldn’t use & exchanged it for Christmas decorations
5. Attended a family cookie decorating party and brought free cookies home.
6. Since work ended for the season, I’m saving a lot of money on gas.
7. Recycled things around the house for supplies for ornament gift toppers.
8. Had a few extra pieces of garland and tied it into my girls hair instead of throwing it away.  Instant festive hair.
Bonus: My mother in law made us some yummy cookies.  Yay for cookies!! 

How did you save money this week?  Got any frugal tips or ideas to share?  Or a frugal score you just have to share.  Love to hear them all 🙂 


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Create with Joy, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Simply Wright,

 

DIY Ornaments: Wood Sled & Borax Snowflake

For the last few years, my town does this neat event called “Festival of Trees” where different organizations decorate a tree according to their specific theme, that is scattered through our armory (which is also our community center.)  This year not only is the elementary school decorating one but our girl scout troop is too.  Our girl scout troop is doing snow sport theme, which isn’t the easiest them to work with, let me tell you.
Our girl scout troop is divided into Daisys and Brownies, so we are doing two different kinds of ornaments……..wooden sleds for the Daisys & borax snowflakes for the brownies.  Both ornaments were fun to make, simple enough to the kids to do, & cheap to make.
PicMonkey Collage
The snowflakes were fun to watch crystalize over a period of 12 hrs.  The girls kept coming back to check every so often.  The sleds were also fun to make since the girls got to use hot glue.   They also enjoyed customizing them, since they could color them any way they wanted.
PicMonkey Collage 2

Borax Snowflake
Supplies:
3 tablespoons of borax
boiling water (enough to submerge the snowflake)
2 pipe cleaners (whatever color you want the snowflake to be)
a pencil
container (fits the snowflake comfortably)
fishing line
Directions:
* Take one pipe cleaner and cut it into three equal parts.
*Take the other pipe cleaner and cut it into 6 equal parts.
*Take the 3 longer pieces & twist together forming a star shape.
*Take the smaller pieces and twist around the end of each star, turning it into a snowflake.
*Boil enough water to submerge the entire snowflake.  Once boiling, pour into container that fits the snowflake comfortably.
*Pour borax into container and stir well.  This part is very important, you need to mix well, making sure there isn’t any borax on the bottom or it won’t work.
*Take snowflake and tie fishing line around it.
*Place snowflake into the borax solution and have it hang from the pencil.
*It takes anywhere between 4-12 hrs.  I let it set for 12-13 hrs.
*Once set, take snowflake out of solution and let dry for a few minutes.
~Viola you have just made a borax sparkly snowflake. ~

Popsicle Sleds
Supplies:
hot glue
8 popsicle sticks per sled
markers or paint

Directions:
*Take 5 sticks and place them together, in the desired sled shape you wanted.
*Cut one stick into pieces, that aren’t bigger than the sled, so it doesn’t show from the other side.
*Glue 2 cut pieces over the sled shape, holding it together.
*Make 2 glue dots on each cut piece.
*Place 1 stick per side for the legs of the sled.  Make sure to add extra glue for support.
*Once dried, decorate as desired or leave blank.
~Viola, you just create simple sleds in under 5 minutes.~

What ornaments have you made this holiday season?  I would love to see them 🙂


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Ducks N a Row, Create With Joy,

Would You Buy Used Items For Christmas Gifts?

Question of the day:  
“Would You Buy Used Items For Christmas Gifts?”  Why or Why not.

Tomorrow, I get to spend two hours alone shopping in my favorite city.  Since I don’t get out there much, I’m super excited. I get to hit all the stores I that I love….Christmas Tree Shop, Goodwill, & Savers. As I’m writing my Christmas list out, I began wondering, am I a weirdo because I would gift used items?
Each year, I have certain people in mind that I shop for year around and if something strikes my eye, I will buy it, used or not. I see nothing wrong with buying people used items because
it saves me money
recycles, keeping one less item of our landfills
&
it’s new to them.
Don’t get me wrong, the items I buy aren’t junk, they are well thought out gifts, that I truly feel that recipient would enjoy. Just because something is used doesn’t mean it’s trashy junk. I know there are lots of others out there, who think I’m weird. But hey that’s ok.  I would find it an honor to be known as the weird frugal lady 😉
What do you think?  Do you do it or are you against it?


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Create With Joy,  A Fresh Start On A Budget, Ducks N a Row